Just the word “spyware” may bring to mind James Bond movies, Orwell’s 1984, and Edward Snowden. But just what is spyware? Is spyware ever good? When is it bad? How do you detect it? Read on to learn the ins and outs of spyware, as well as why may need cyber security services Detroit.
What Is Spyware?
In general, spyware is software installed on a device without the owner knowing about it. Whether the intentions are good or bad is beside the point.
When Spyware Is Not Spyware
As reported by TechTarget, software installed on an end user’s device is not considered spyware when you know that the company or individual is collecting data and is installing the software. Also, you have the ability to find out who the individual or company is sharing the information with.
You Can Opt Out
You have the ability to opt out at any time—whether that’s unsubscribing or directly contacting the company or individual to stop the tracking.
Types of Spyware Examples We Often Don’t Realize are Spyware Examples
It is easy to picture a hacker from a far-off country greedily smiling while monitoring your key strokes or getting a “sneak peek” into business accounts and private information. But what about the parent who wants to make sure his/her child is using the Internet wisely? Or the employer wanting to track his/her employee browsing history when clocked in?
Again, the truth is, if the end user does not know they are being monitored, it is considered spying—whether the intentions are good or not. Using the examples mentioned above, the line starts to get blurred.
The Lines Become Blurry
It makes sense that a parent wants to protect his/her child from accessing inappropriate information or make sure the child is really doing his/her homework and not playing games.
At the same time, the employer wants to know his/her employees are putting in quality time and performing at a high level—not online shopping, reading the news for long amounts of time, or updating his/her personal social media platforms.
In this regard, perhaps to ward off a potential litigation suit (or, for parents, a child’s mistrust and invasion of boundaries), notify the end users (employees, children, other individuals) that you will be monitoring activity during a specific time period.
For employers, it may be wise to have employees read and sign a contract that straightforwardly outlines these details.
No matter what, spyware, while perhaps initially used for seemingly innocent reasons, can broach and pass the line of abuse. It is important that this line does not get crossed.
When Spyware Becomes Dangerous: It Is What You Think
Spyware can range from advertisers tracking a user’s cookies to an actual spy or hacker (illegally and unethically) gaining access to an individual’s tablet.
The former is annoying at best and illegal at worst. The latter is beyond dangerous and unethical, and here’s why.
Hackers, accessing an individual’s device, can not only record keystrokes, know the individual’s location, pick up on conversations, and even see the individual via the device’s camera and microphone capabilities—whether that be phone, tablet, computer, etc.
This is a huge invasion of privacy, not to mention an abuse of power, which shows how dangerous spyware software can be.
How Do You Know If There Is Spyware on Your Device?
The reality is, detecting spyware can be difficult. As TechTarget discusses, if you notice that your computer is taking a slower time to process and connect to the Internet, there may be spyware on your device.
Use the Common-Sense Approach
Don’t dabble in anything illegal. If so, you run the risk of getting spied on (or on the other side of a data breach, dealing with lawsuits, etc.). Ask yourself, is this illegal? If you have to think twice, play it safe and don’t click on the site or link.
Speaking of which, do not click on suspicious links or websites, no matter how appealing they are. If it’s too good to be true, most likely it is.
Talk with Cyber Professionals
Discuss anti-spyware options with reputable and experienced cyber professionals so you have all options laid out.
While it is counterproductive to be paranoid, a good dose of reality—learning what spyware is and how you can reduce your chances of falling victim to it—is beneficial.
Cyber Security Services Detroit Can Help
CBI, cyber security services Detroit, can help you bolster your cybersecurity defenses. Contact CBI to learn more.